When I saw the picturesque video of Kate Middleton standing outside the hospital doors holding her newborn baby in her arms for the world to see, looking fresh-faced, beautiful, and let’s face it, pretty much perfect, my first thought wasn’t, oh, how lovely!
My first thought was that she must be knackered.
I studied her immaculate makeup and perfectly styled red dress and imagined the team of people it must have taken to make her look so effortless before the big reveal.
Only, it couldn’t have been effortless. She’d just given birth.
Your body, after all, doesn’t just ping back into shape hours later.
Things ache, things leak, and things feel a little, different.
I am all for body positivity and being proud of what you’ve got. Why hide it if you look or feel good? And Kate looks amazing. But bouncing back too quickly and having to keep up appearances is not realistic for most women out there.
Why do we feel we must present ourselves as if we’ve just stepped out of a salon, not a maternity ward?
I think I looked pretty fresh-faced after giving birth, but as far as the rest of me was concerned, you would not have found me looking so picturesque.
You would have found me roaming the maternity ward wearing an old nightie, massive pads, and granny pants (not my gran’s, by the way, these beauties were all mine). What I’m trying to get at here is, I didn’t have the energy to be anything other than how I was. I was keeping it real. I think you have to - for the sake of your sanity.
Having a baby is a huge deal both mentally and physically, and the last thing your mind and body need is to be overloaded with the pressure of your appearance. You don’t need to do anything other than look after your baby and yourself. Other stuff is just stuff, and it can wait. As for your body, just give it time - you’ll be surprised what will happen if you look after yourself mentally first.
When I left the hospital I suppose you could argue I looked stylish. I was rocking a sexy pair of stockings - compression stockings to help stop blood clots, complete with a pack of self-inject needles so they didn’t happen post-birth.
But I didn’t care.
In fact, I remember standing in the corridor crying. Not because I looked less than glamorous, but because I realised I was standing in the same corridor that I’d stood in the year before after suffering two miscarriages.
Only this time I was walking out with my living baby.
It wasn’t in front of the world’s press but it was a beautiful moment.
It’s different for Kate, of course. She has a role to upkeep, but for those of us that don’t, please remember, it’s ok to look less than perfect. Because you already are perfect - just the way you are.